The 5 Plays That Clinched the World Series for the Royals
Kansas City was relentless — and we’ve got the footage to prove it.
The Royals did it, guys. The 30-year World Series drought in Kansas City has finally come to a close. BBQ for everyone!
How did the Royals manage to pull it off? Credit timely hitting, a ferocious bullpen, stellar defense and a little bit of luck for KC’s 4-1 series win over the Mets. In a fall classic defined by the Royals’ refusal to give up, the team mounted three late-inning comebacks and rallied for two extra inning wins. Those improbable victories were capped by plays that will soon be immortalized on countless commemorative plates perched on mantles all across Missouri.
Here are the five plays that helped push Kansas City to the promise land.
Game 1: Alex Gordon’s ninth inning home run
With the Royals down a run and two outs away from dropping game one of the World Series, the left-fielder who only hit 13 homers this season blasted one out to the deepest part of Kauffman Stadium. Tie-game and five innings later the Royals would win on a walk-off sac fly.
Game 2: Johnny Cueto finishes a gem
It’s an unremarkable play in of itself, but this ninth inning fly ball off of Yoenis Cespedes’ bat marked the 27th out for Johnny Cueto, who pitched a complete game on 122 pitches. Not only did it give the Royals a commanding 2-0 lead in the series, but it kept the team’s vaunted bullpen fresh for future domination.
Game 4: Daniel Murphy’s error
Yes, this is more a bad play by the Mets than it is a good play by the Royals. But if you look a little deeper, it’s not hard to give a little credit to the boys in blue. When Eric Hosmer hit the grounder that resulted in this error the Royals had two men on with no outs. The Mets had just brought in their closer, Jeurys Familia, who averages more than a strikeout per inning. But the Royals simply don’t K. The team’s 15.9% strikeout rate this season was best in the league. Obviously this ball should have resulted in an out, but instead it tied the game and provided a concise summary of the Royal’s entire hitting philosophy: make contact and see what happens. On this plays, it was something good.
Game 5: Eric Hosmer’s mad dash home
If any one play from this World Series is remembered 20 years from now, it’ll be this one. With his team down a run in the top of the ninth, Eric Hosmer made an awful decision to try to score on a ground ball to third. But sometimes bad decisions are rewarded. Hosmer should have been thrown out on this play and Mets should have won. A half-way decent throw nails him. But Lucas Duda made a horrendous throw and Hosmer’s aggressive base running paid off, tying the game at 2 runs apiece.
Game 5: Christian Colon plays hero
Three innings after Hosmer tied the game, utility infielder Christian Colon came off the bench for his first at-bat of the postseason and promptly laced a single to left. The Royals took the lead and they didn’t let it go. Little used and little known, Colon is now a World Series hero.
Photos by Patterson / MLB Photos / Getty Images